Sunday, August 16, 2015

Top 5 Myths About Snoring

Not too long ago (and even today), most people believed that snoring was normal and completely harmless. We thought it was just a minor nuisance to the people that had to hear the snoring. We thought that it was a sign of restful sleep. We thought that it wasn't really that big of a deal.

There are quite a few myths in regards to snoring. Here is my top five list of the ones I hear most often:
  1. Snoring is normal
  2. Only overweight people snore
  3. You don't have sleep apnea if you don't snore
  4. You are certain you don't snore
  5. Children don't snore
Let's address each of these myths.

1. Snoring is Normal

Snoring is very common. However, it certainly isn't normal. 

When we are breathing properly, air flows smoothly through the respiratory tract and there is virtually no sound. Perhaps just the sound of air flowing. 

When we snore, there is an obstruction that impedes proper airflow. Most often, the obstruction is caused by the tongue or the soft tissue in the back of your throat.

We all know that proper ventilation is vital to life. When we aren't getting an adequate amount of air, neither is your heart, brain or other vital organs. 

2. Only Overweight People Snore

Yes, it is true that overweight people snore because of their enlarged necks which will often constrict the diameter of the airway and therefore decrease airflow.

I often see very thin people in my office suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea caused by some restriction of airflow just as you see in overweight people.

The causes can be anything from chronic sinus issues, to jaws that are excessively skinny that can't accommodate the soft tissue tongue and tonsils. These structures pretty much get in the way.

3. You don't have sleep apnea if you don't snore

Nope, not necessarily.

People that stop breathing because of a complete blockage of the airway do not snore because there is no flow of air to cause snoring. You'll often see these people actually stop breathing for extended periods of time until they briefly awaken to catch their breath. This process can repeat for the entire night.

4. You are certain you don't snore

The only way to determine if someone is or isn't suffering from sleep apnea is to have a sleep study performed. 

We now have the option to perform a sleep study in your own bed without people there to watch you sleep. It used to be a major obstacle to get people to go to a sleep center. That is no longer the case.

5. Children don't snore

Not true. Children can have the same issues as adults. In fact, when they have enlarged tonsils, they often inhibit proper airflow.

Some warning flags may include ADHD, bedwetting, profuse sweating during sleep and kicking during sleep.

A Call to Action

The real problem isn't snoring. The real problem is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We can determine the severity by doing a simple sleep study. This is the only way to objectively evaluate the severity. 

Many of my patients may require no treatment whatsoever. However, many do. The problem with Obstructive Sleep Apnea is that it kills people. On average, you can expect a 12-15 year loss of life.

Some warning flags include narrow faces, enlarged necks, obesity, daytime sleepiness, chronic fatigue, hypertension and mouth breathing to name just a few.

If you snore or suspect that you (or a loved one) may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, I urge you to get evaluated. It could save your life or the life of a loved one.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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